Skip to main content

Full text of "ERIC ED468437: Working Together for Successful Paraeducator Services: A Guide for Paraeducators, Teachers, and Principals. By Request Series."

See other formats


DOCUMENT RESUME 



ED 468 437 



SP 041 071 



AUTHOR 

TITLE 

INSTITUTION 

SPONS AGENCY 

PUB DATE 
NOTE 

CONTRACT 
AVAILABLE FROM 



PUB TYPE 
EDRS PRICE 
DESCRIPTORS 



Railsback, Jennifer; Reed, Bracken; Schmidt, Karen 
Working Together for Successful Paraeducator Services: A 
Guide for Paraeducators , Teachers, and Principals. By Request 
Series. 

Northwest Regional Educational Lab., Portland, OR. 
Comprehensive Center, Region X. 

Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), 
Washington, DC. 

2002-05-00 
69p . 

ED-01-CO-0013 

Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory, 101 S.W. Main 
Street, Suite 500, Portland, OR 97204. Tel: 503-275-9720; Web 
site: http://www.nwrel.org/ request. 

Guides - Non-Classroom (055) 

EDRS Price MF01/PC03 Plus Postage. 

Administrator Role; Collegiality ; Cooperative Planning; 
Differentiated Staffs; Educational Policy; Educational 
Research; Elementary Secondary Education; *Paraprof essional 
School Personnel; Professional Education; Teacher Role; 
^Teamwork 



ABSTRACT 

This booklet provides an overview of the current issues 
surrounding paraeducator employment and synthesizes recommendations of 
various national, state, and local paraeducator task force groups. Based on 
these recommendations, the booklet outlines suggestions for paraeducators, 
teachers, and principals to increase paraeducator effectiveness. After an 
introduction, the booklet focuses on: "In Context: What are the Current 
Issues Involving Paraeducators? 11 (concerns about preparation training, and 
roles and about recent legislation); "How are Researchers, Practitioners, and 
Policymakers Responding to These Concerns and Policies?"; "What are the 
Guidelines for Paraeducator Roles and Responsibilities?" (roles for teachers, 
principals, and paraeducators); "Northwest Sampler" (Houghtaling Elementary 
School, Ketchikan, Alaska; Oakwood Elementary School, Preston, Idaho; Hardin 
Public Schools, Hardin, Montana; and Cherrydale School, Steilacoom, 
Washington); and "Conclusion" (paraeducators can offer tremendous benefits 
for children, providing instructional reinforcement that enhances every 
student's opportunity to learn, meet standards, and achieve academic 
success) . An appendix presents existing or proposed state paraeducator 
certification policies. Relevant resources are listed. (Contains 28 
references . ) (SM) 



Reproductions supplied by EDRS are the best that can be made 
from the original document 



smioii 

— * ■ « 



WORKING TOGETHER 
FOR SUCCESSFUL 
PARAEDUCATOR SERVICES 

A Guide for Paraeaucators, 
Teackers, and Principals 



PERMISSION TO REPRODUCE AND 
DISSEMINATE THIS MATERIAL HAS 
BEEN GRANTED BY 



TO THE EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES 
INFORMATION CENTER (ERIC) 

1 



U S DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION 
Office of Educational Research and Improvement 

EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES INFORMATION 
CENTER (ERIC) 

□ This document has been reproduced as 
received from the person or organization 
originating it. 

□ Minor changes have been made to 
improve reproduction quality. 



• Points of view or opinions stated in this 
document do not necessarily represent 
official OERI position or policy. 




May 2002 



Northwest Regional 
Educational Laboratory 

2 BEST COPY AVAILABLE 




Titles in the By Request series: 

▲ Service Learning in the Northwest Region 
a Tutoring: Strategies for Successful Learning 
a Scheduling Alternatives: Options for Student Success 

a Grade Configuration: Who Goes Where? 

a Alternative Schools: Approaches for Students at Risk 
a All Students Learning: Making It Happen in Your School 
a High-Quality Professional Development: An Essential 
Component of Successful Schools 
a Student Mentoring 
a Peaceful Schools 

a After-School Programs: Good for Kids, Good for Communities 
a Parent Partners: Using Parents To Enhance Education 
a When Students Don’t Succeed: Shedding Light on Grade 

Retention 

a Making Positive Connections With Homeschoolers 
a Increasing Student Motivation and Engagement: From Time-on- 
Task to Homework 

a The Power of Public Relations in Schools 

* Supporting Beginning Teachers: How Administrators, Teachers, 
and Policymakers Can Help New Teachers Succeed 
A Technology in Early Childhood Education: Finding the Balance 

a Schoolwide Prevention of Bullying 



3 



o 

ERiC 




By Request. 




WORKING TOGETHER 
FOR SUCCESSFUL 
PARAEDUCATOR SERVICES 



Jennifer Railsback 

Planning & Program Development 

Bracken Reed 

Comprehensive Center, Region X 

Karen Schmidt 

Comprehensive Center, Region X 



Northwest Regional 
Educational Laboratory 
NWREL’s Comprehensive Center Region X 




m 




May 2002 



ERiC 



4 




TABLE OF CONTENTS 

Foreword 3 

Introduction 4 

In Context: What Are the Current Issues Involving 

Paraeducators? 5 

Concerns About Preparation, Training, and Roles 6 

Recent Legislation ' 

How Are Researchers, Practitioners, and Policymakers 

Responding to These Concerns and Policies? 10 

What Are the Guidelines for Paraeducator Roles and 

Responsibilities? * 13 

Roles for School Staff 15 

What Can Paraeducators Do?....: 15 

What Can Teachers Do? 21 

What Can Principals Do? 26 

Northwest Sampler 33 

Houghtaling Elementary School— Ketchikan, Alaska.... 34 

Oakwood Elementary School Preston, Idaho 39 

Hardin Public Schools-Hardin, Montana 43 

Cherrydale Primary School— Steilacoom, Washington.... 48 

Conclusion 52 

Appendix: Existing or Proposed State Paraeducator 

Certification Policies 53 

Resources 58 

References 60 

Acknowledgments 65 



FOREWORD 



This booklet is the 19th in a series of “hot topic” reports pro- 
duced by the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory. 
These reports briefly address current educational concerns 
and issues as indicated by requests for information that come 
to the Laboratory from the Northwest region and beyond. 
Each booklet in the series contains a discussion of research 
and literature pertinent to the issue, a sampling of how 
Northwest schools are addressing the issue, suggestions for 
adapting these ideas to schools; selected references, and con- 
tact information. 

One objective of the series is to foster a sense of community 
and connection among educators. Another is to increase 
awareness of current education-related themes and con- 
cerns. Each booklet will give practitioners a glimpse of how 
fellow educators are addressing issues, overcoming obstacles, 
and attaining success in certain areas. The series goal is to 
give educators current, reliable, and useful information on 
topics that are important to them. - 

This issue of By Request is a collaborative project between 
the Comprehensive Center and the Office of Planning and 
Program Development. 



o 

ERIC 



6 



I NTRODUCTION 



In schools across the country, paraeducators have long been 
considered valuable members of the instructional team. 

Working alongside and under the direction of teachers and 
other certified professionals, these staff members assist and sup- 
port teachers in many different ways. They provide small group 
instruction or tutor individual children under teacher direction. 
They organize parent involvement activities and make visits to 
students’ homes. Others work in school media centers, work 
with special education students, or are translators for Eng is 
language learners. Whatever their role, paraeducators are no 
longer just making photocopies or designing bulletin boards, 
but are contributing meaningfully to learner-centered activities. 



As more paraeducators are being hired to provide these essen- 
tial services, policymakers are strengthening requirements and 
standards for their employment. National, state, and local 
paraeducator task forces are developing guidelines to aid dis- 
tricts and schools in implementing these requirements. These 
groups generally agree on the factors that can increase the over- 
all effectiveness of paraeducators (Gerber, Finn, Achilles, & 
Boyd-Zaharias, 2001; Pickett, 1999; Shellard, 2002). 

The purpose of this booklet is to provide an overview of the 
current issues surrounding paraeducator employment and 
to synthesize the recommendations of the task force groups. 
Based on these recommendations, the booklet outlines sug 
gestions for paraeducators, teachers,, and principals to 
increase paraeducator effectiveness. The Northwest Sampler 
section illustrates how, in different ways, these strategies are 
put in place at three schools and one district in the North- 
west. A list of resources is provided for further reference. 



o 

ERIC 



7 



IN CONTEXT: 

WHAT ARE THE CURRENT 
ISSUES INVOLVING 
PARAEDUCATORS? 

In the last decade, the number of paraeducators has 
increased dramatically both in numbers and as a propor- 
tion of all instructional staff. In 1990, the total number of 
full-time paraeducators in the United States was 395,642. 

In 1999, the number rose to 621,385, an increase of 57 per- 
cent. In the Northwest states of Alaska, Idaho, Montana, 
Oregon, and Washington, this trend has been even more 
dramatic— a 67 percent increase in paraeducators, with only 
a 15 percent increase in teachers (Ghedam, 2001; Snyder & 
Hoffman, 1993, 2001). 

Several more statistics point to the increased importance 
of paraeducators in the public school system: 

♦ Approximately 75 percent of all paraeducators work in 
elementary schools. 

♦ Almost half of this paraprofessional workforce is hired 
for special education programs. 

♦ An estimated 15 to 18 percent work in bilingual programs. 

♦ Paraeducators are employed in Title I programs in more 
than 70 percent of elementary schools and nearly 50 per- 
cent of middle schools throughout the country (Leighton 
et al„ 1997). 



8 



Concerns About Preparation, Training, 
and Roles 

While the employment of paraeducators in schools has 
increased dramatically, clearly defined state and district 
policies have lagged behind. Concerns regarding the prepa- 
ration, training, and instructional roles of paraeducators 
have become more urgent (Ashbaker & Morgan, 2001/2002; 
Gerber et al, 2001; Shellard, 2002). While a number of states 
and districts throughout the country are currently develop 
ing policies (see Appendix for list of state policies), it is still 
rare to find well-defined standards for paraeducator roles, 
supervision, and preparation (Pickett, 1999). Nor do many 
states have guidelines for preparing teachers and other stall 
in their role of directing paraeducators. 

Some of the primary concerns cited in reports, staff inter- 
views, and case studies (Ashbaker & Morgan, 2000/2001; 
Gerber et al., 2001; Shellard, 2002) include: 

♦ Lack of formal or even informal training for paraeducators 

♦ Lack of requirements for employment, training, and supervision 

♦ Unclear job responsibilities, which can include par^educa 
tors being assigned duties beyond their job description 
(and thus not adequately paid) 

♦ Lack of recognition within the school system 

♦ Lack of respect for paraeducator knowledge and experi 
ence, especially if the paraeducator is from the same cul- 
tural background or community as the students (Monzo 
& Rueda, 2001; Rueda & Monzo, 2000) 

♦ Lack of role models for paraeducators to follow and lack 
of feedback on their performance 

♦ Lack of planning time, interaction, and communication 
between teachers and paraeducators 



o 

ERIC 



9 



Recent Legislation 

These concerns combined with the increased national focus 
on Title 1 and special education programs, have resulted in 
recent legislative attempts to establish clear standards and 
requirements for paraeducators. 

One piece of legislation that affects nearly half of all paraed- 
ucators is the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 
(IDEA ’97). Final regulations to implement the Act were 
released in March 1999. Subpart B Section 300.136 addresses 
the use of paraeducators within special education: 

“A state may allow paraprofessionals and assistants who 
are appropriately trained and supervised, in accordance 
with State law, regulations, or written policy, in meeting the 
requirements of this part, to be used to assist in the provision 
of special education and related services to children with 
disabilities under Part B of the Act (IDEA 97). 

While this statute insists on appropriate training and super- 
vision, it also emphasizes the priority of state law and pol- 
icy — giving states the option of determining whether to use 
paraeducators and to what extent, and leaving the definition 
of “appropriate training and supervision” for each state to 



requirements may be adjusted. 

The recent No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, reauthorizing 
the ESEA (including Title I) for six years, has gone even fur- 
ther in addressing the employment of paraeducators. Section 
1119 (pp. 128-133) requires that Local Education Agencies 



decide (from IDEA 97, Analysis of Comments, Discussions « 
Changes from Attachment discussion of Section 300.136(f)) 
Since IDEA is ud for reauthorization in 2002-2003, these 



(LEAs) receiving Title 1 assistance ensure that all paraeduca- 
tors hired after the enactment of the act have. 

♦ Completed at least two years of study at an institute of 
higher education OR 

♦ Obtained an associate’s (or higher) degree OR 

♦ Met a rigorous standard of quality and can demonstrate 
through a formal state or local academic assessment, 
knowledge of and the ability to assist in instructing in 
reading, writing, and mathematics (or reading, writing, 
and mathematics readiness as appropriate) 

Paraeducators hired before the date of enactment (January 8, 
2002) are expected to satisfy these requirements within four 
years. Exceptions are made for paraeducators who are pri 
marily acting as translators, or whose duties consist solely 
of conducting parent involvement activities. To satisfy these 
requirements, the legislation stipulates that funds from Part 
B of Title 1 be used for training and professional develop- 
ment. 

In addition to these requirements, LEAs are also being asked 
to ensure that paraeducators are not “assigned a duty incon- 
sistent” with the following responsibilities: 

♦ To provide one-to-one tutoring, if tutoring is scheduled 
at a time when the student would not receive instruction 
from a teacher 

♦ To assist with classroom management such as organizing 
instructional materials 

♦ To conduct parent involvement activities 

♦ To provide assistance in a computer laboratory 

♦ To provide support in a library or media center 



♦ To act as a translator 

♦ To provide instructional services under the direct supervi 
sion of a teacher 

To encourage compliance, LEAs are expected to require the 
principal of each school to annually verify, in writing, that 
the school is meeting these requirements. 



12 



HOW ARE RESEARCHERS, 
PRACTITIONERS, AND 
POLICYMAKERS RESPONDING TO 
THESE CONCERNS AND POLICIES? 

As a result of these new policies and concerns regarding 
standards for paraeducator employment, professional orga- 
nizations, unions, institutes of higher education, and policy- 
makers have formed national and regional task forces. 

♦ The National Resource Center for Para professionals in 
Education and Related Services (NRCP), funded by the 
Office of Special Education Programs is developing guide- 
lines and standards for paraeducator roles, supervision, 
skill and knowledge competencies, and preparation. NRCP 
convened a task force that represented state education 
agencies, local education agencies, colleges and universities, 
parents, paraeducators, professional organizations, and 
unions. The task force assisted with the development of 
proposed, guidelines for responsibilities and standards for 
teachers/providers and paraeducators. To validate these 
findings, the task force conducted a nationwide mail survey 
sent to a selected sample of 700 individuals with experi- 
ence and understanding of paraeducator employment, uti 
lization, preparation, and retention. Responses from 400 of 
these administrators, faculty members, teachers, and parae- 
ducators helped finalize the scope of responsibilities and 
three levels of paraeducator positions. 

The Center provides technical assistance on policy ques 
tions, management practices, regulatory procedures, and 
training models that will enable administrators and staff 



developers to improve the recruitment, deployment, super- 
vision, and career development of paraprofessionals. 

♦ In 1999, the Associations of Service Providers 
Implementing IDEA Reforms in Education Partnerships 
(ASPIIRE) formed a Paraprofessional Workgroup to 
address the 1997 IDEA amendments. Key members of this 
group included representatives from the American 
Physical Therapy Association, American Speech- 
Language-Hearing Association, National Resource Center 
for Paraprofessionals, American Federation of Teachers, 
and the Council for Exceptional Children (to name a few). 
The group developed a consensus on the definition and 
training of paraprofessionals, identified a need for further 
resources, and made initial attempts to address the poli- 
cies, standards, and systems that would ensure a skilled 
and appropriately supervised workforce (IDEA 
Partnerships, 2001). 

♦ The National Center for Research on Diversity, Education, 
and Excellence (CREDE) has implemented a project called 
the Latino Paraprofessionals as Teachers: Building on the 
Funds of Knowledge to Improve Instruction. The project is 
investigating the “funds of knowledge” (i.e., knowledge of 
the language, social and discourse norms, and other cul- 
tural and linguistic resources of students and their com- 
munities) of bilingual Latino paraeducators in classroom 
settings (CREDE, n.d.). The goal is to determine what 
impact these factors have on classroom instruction for low- 
income English language learners in reading and language 
arts instruction. Publications explaining the results of the 
project offer recommendations to policymakers on how to 
design effective professional development programs to 

14 



0 



make these paraeducators more effective in their role. The 
project also suggests ways paraeducators can act as a cul- 
tural bridge from school to family because of their lunds 
of knowledge (Monzo & Rueda, 2000; Rueda & DeNeve, 

1999). 

These groups-as well as state task forces (such as in 
Washington, Montana, and lowa)-are currently working on 
providing guidelines to states, districts, and schools to imp e 
ment the new Title 1 regulations. They seek to answer many 
questions schools and districts have about the requirements, 
such as what kinds of assessments should be developed who 
will pay for the development, and who will provide funding 
for professional development. For more information about 
these issues, contact the National Resource Center lor 
Paraprofessionals (see the Resources section). 




15 



WHAT ARE THE GUIDELINES 

FOR PARAEDUCATOR ROLES 

AND RESPONSIBILITIES? 

Paraeducators can be a viable way to enrich services to stu- 
dents if basic guidelines about the utilization of paraeduca- 
tors are followed (Pickett, 1999; Project PARA, n.d.): 

♦ Paraeducators work under the direction of teachers 
(including classroom teachers, specialist teachers, and 
curriculum directors) 

♦ Teachers are the managers of instruction and services 

♦ Paraeducator effectiveness is maximized by consistent, 
quality, competency-based preservice, inservice, and on- 
the-job training 

♦ Teacher supervisory effectiveness is maximized by ade- 
quate training focusing on decisionmaking, delegating, 
planning, and evaluating 

♦ Administrators recognize the need for regularly scheduled 
time for teachers and paraeducators to plan together 

♦ Teachers are involved in developing paraeducator policies, 
utilization, selection, training, supervision, and evaluation 

♦ Paraeducators are recognized as valued team members and 
are integrated effectively into instructional teams 

These guidelines, developed by paraeducator task forces, are 
designed to ensure that paraeducators are effectively super- 
vised, adequately trained, and appropriately integrated into 
the planning and implementing teams (Pickett, 1999). 

The level and style of supervision will vary depending on 
the level of experience and expertise of the paraeducators. 
For example, a paraeducator with 15 years experience may 
have less direction from a teacher or curriculum director 




16 



than would a first-year paraeducator. The NRCP has devel 
oped scopes of responsibility and skill standards for paraed- 
ucators. They are divided into three levels of positions. For 
example, Level 2 paraeducators have more instructional 
responsibilities than do Level 1 paraeducators. (See Pickett, 
1999, for a more detailed explanation of levels.) Depending 
on the role of the paraeducator, a classroom teacher, a spe- 
cialist teacher, a curriculum director, or all three could have 
supervisory roles, and each can provide a certain amount of 
direction (see profile of Cherrydale Elementary in the NW 
Sampler section, as an example). 

Defining the roles of paraeducators will depend on the 
needs of the school, and the hiring guidelines of the state 
and/or district. What works in one setting may not work in 
another. Just as paraeducator roles and responsibilities will 
vary from site to site, so will the strategies to create success. 
(See Pickett, 1999, for more information about developing 
guidelines.) 



17 

o 

ERIC 



Roles for School Staff 



The following sections suggest ways that paraeducators, 
teachers, and principals can put the guidelines for effective 
paraeducator employment in place at their schools. Doing 
so requires the support of each member of the instructional 
team, and a clear understanding of their roles and responsi- 
bilities. The following guidelines and suggestions are based 
on the work of several professionals in the field of paraedu 
cator development . 1 What we list here can get you started. 
Please consult the Resources and References sections for 
more suggestions. 



What Can Paraeducators Do? 

Paraeducators are a valuable asset for teachers in providing 
support and assistance in instruction and other direct ser 
vices to students, and in helping to ensure a positive, safe, 
and supportive learning community. What can paraeduca- 
tors do to be successful in their role? How can they work 
most effectively with other instructional team members to 
create a positive learning environment for students and a 
positive. work environment for themselves and others? Here 
are a few guidelines for achieving these goals: 



1 We have synthesized information from several sources for the next three sec- 
tions. Rather than listing citations in the text for every component, we identify 
in this footnote the primary resources, and cite in text when using a direct 
quote or pointing to a specific reference. Primary resources are Ashbaker and 
Morgan, 1999 and 2000/01; French, 1997; Gerlach, 2001; Heller, 1997; Leighton et 
al., 1997; Pickett, 1999; Pickett & Gerlach, 1997; Pickett, Steckelberg & Vasa, 1993; 
Shellard, 2002; Vasa & Steckelberg, 1997. 



ERIC 



18 



1. Understand your role to assist and support the 
teacher in delivering instruction or other services. 

Your role will, of course, depend on the job description, 
the teacher’s expectations, and your skills and experience. 
Roles will be more flexible in some situations than in 
others. It helps to clarify your role right away with your 
supervising teacher and/or principal. One way to do this 
might be to sit down with your supervising teacher and 
discuss each activity you might be responsible for and 
what level of supervision and guidance you will receive. 
Clarify what responsibilities will be shared and what the 
teacher is responsible for. Ask questions regarding your 
role in various situations. If you are assisting students with 
special needs ask questions about your role in attending 
Individualized Education Plan meetings, and in imple- 
menting Behavioral Intervention Plans. Ask about your 
role in curriculum instruction. How much responsibility 
will you have to assume for assisting in planning? What 
guidance will you receive from the teacher in carrying out 
his or her lesson plans and instructions? What role will 
you have in assessing student performance? What guide- 
lines and training for this will the teacher provide 
(Gerlach, 2001)? 

2 Orient yourself to the school. Ideally, your school/dis- 
trict will have a formal orientation to introduce new para- 
educators to the staff, review school policies and procedures, 
and provide other necessary pieces of information. However, 
you can take the initiative and ask questions of your prmci- 
pal or supervising teacher to make your first days and 
weeks less uncertain. Some questions might include 
(adapted from Gerlach, 2001; Montana Center on 
Disabilities [MCD], 2001b, p. 17): 

19 

o 

ERIC 



♦ Who will be my supervisor(s)? When will we meet? 

♦ Is there a weekly schedule and, if so, who gives it to me? 

Has planning time with the teacher been set into the 
schedule? 

♦ Will there be a formal evaluation of my work? If so, who 
will be performing the evaluation? 

♦ What are the specific policies on school safety, harassment, 
bullying, discipline, etc.? What is expected of me in terms 
of enforcing these policies? 

♦ Am I invited and expected to attend staff meetings? When 
do they occur? 

♦ Am I to attend parent conferences? 

♦ How will I receive district and school communications? 
Has an e-mail account and mail box been set up for me? 

♦ With whom am 1 to discuss work-related problems? 

♦ What student records are available to me? 

♦ What supplies and equipment are available to me and 
how do I obtain them? 

3. Establish a relationship with the professional staff. 

The keys to a successful relationship with teachers and other 
staff members are effective communication, trust, respect, 
recognition, and collaborative problem solving. This obvi- 
ously takes time as you get to know the staff. Here are some 
suggestions (adapted from AFT, n.d.): 

♦ Create an open relationship with professional staff members. 
Set aside some time to get to know each other, and find out 
about each other’s interests, professional goals, teaching 
styles, supervisory styles, discipline strategies, and class- 
room structure and organization methods. Let the teacher 
know what strengths and experience you bring to the 
position. 



o 

ERIC 



20 



♦ Practice active listening. Active listening is a key to true 
communication. Elements of active listening include ask 
ing encouraging questions; clarifying to obtain clear infor 
mation by asking who, what, when, and where questions; 
restating the facts to make sure you’ve understood; reflect- 
ing on the other person’s feelings; summarizing the issue; 
and validating the other person’s “dignity, efforts, and 
opinions” (AFT, n.d., p. 4). 

♦ Attempt to understand why conflicts occur and work to col- 
laborate on conflict resolution strategies. 

♦ Provide input on planning. While the teacher is responsible 
for planning, the paraeducator should feel comfortable 
offering input and suggestions. 

♦ Offer feedback to the teacher. Just as the teacher will and 
should provide paraeducators with feedback on their job 
performance, so should paraeducators provide feedback to 
the teacher on how the working relationship is developing. 
Discuss these questions periodically: Are we meeting often 
enough? Are we sharing information about student per 
formance? Do we need to work on redefining roles and set- 
ting goals? Are we treating each other with respect and 
valuing each other’s roles? Do we feel able to talk freely 
with each other about problems and issues (AFT, n.d., p. 11)?. 

For more suggestions on how to work effectively with 
teachers and create a successful team, see the Creating a 
Classroom Team'. How Teachers and Paraeducators Can Make 
Working Together Work (AFT, n.d.) and Let’s Team Up: A 
Checklist for Paraeducators, Teachers, and Principals 
(Gerlach, 2001). 



o 

ERLC 



21 



4. Obtain training and professional development. 

National and state legislators and educators are working 
to respond to the need for paraeducator training, as required 
by the new Title I and Special Education legislation. Oppor- 
tunities for training and professional development are 
becoming more and more available to paraeducators. Para- 
educators can find out what their district and schools do 
to provide professional development opportunities for them. 
In a number of states, state paraeducator associations also 
provide training and resources. To list a few: 

♦ The Web site wwwparaeducator.com provides an online 
training module for training in the 14 Washington State 
Core Competencies for Paraeducators, as well as many 
other resources. Washington also has an annual paraedu- 
cator conference in June. 

♦ Bates Technical College in Washington is just one college 
offering training for paraeducators. It is a statewide dis- 
tance learning training program in the core competencies. 
For more information, see the program Web site at 
www.bates.ctc.edu/paraeducator/paraOO.htm 

♦ Montana Paraeducator Development Project 
(www.msubillings.edu/mtcd/paraed/) provides training 
resources to paraeducators in the state. A paraeducator 
resource guide available on the Web site provides a wealth 
of information on team building, communication strate- 
gies, instructional guidelines, and descriptions of roles and 
responsibilities. 

♦ The PAR/A Center at the University of Colorado provides 
training resources for paraeducators nationally. 



o 

ERIC 



22 



More resources for paraeducator professional development 
are listed in the Resources section. 

5. Be aware of confidentiality issues (Heller, 1997). 
Paraeducators, as members of the instructional team, are 
responsible for maintaining a relationship with school staff, 
parents, students, and others that is based on an expectation 
of trust that each person will perform his/her duties to the 
best of his/her ability following professional and ethical 
standards” (MCD, 2001b, p. 21). As representatives of the 
school, paraeducators maintain professional integrity as they 
interact with members of the community, both in and out- 
side school. 



The issue of confidentiality is an important ethical considera- 
tion for all staff members. Because paraeducators have daily 
contact with students and access to confidential information, 
and may often interact with families and community mem 
bers, they need to be aware of certain confidentiality ethics. 

No staff members, including paraeducators, should informally 
discuss school problems between and among staff members, 
discuss personalities of staff members outside the school, dis- 
cuss administrative and interschool problems in the presence 
of students, or discuss student concerns with anyone not 
authorized to be a part of those discussions. Unless authorized 
to do so by the supervising teacher, paraeducators should not 
communicate with parents about a students progress. If a stu 
dent or parent brings up a concern, refer them to the supervis- 
ing teacher. These considerations may sound like simple 
common sense, but it is a good idea to keep them in mind. 

6. Conduct self-evaluations of instructional sessions. 

Along with any informal and formal evaluations of your 



work, it is a good idea to develop a self-evaluation checklist 
with your supervising teacher that can help you evaluate an 
instructional session. The checklist provides many advan- 
tages. It can be a way for paraeducators to establish their own 
goals for improvement, a way to help the teacher determine 
what is needed for further professional development and sup- 
port, and a way for the teacher to determine what he or she 
can do to make lessons clearer. Some questions to consider 
include (Gerlach, 2001; Pickett, Vasa, & Steckelberg, 1993). 

♦ Did 1 review the lesson plan prior to the lesson? 

♦ Were the objectives and directions clear? 

♦ Did 1 have necessary materials prepared for the lesson? 

♦ Did 1 feel adequately prepared for the instruction? 

♦ Did 1 use appropriate reinforcement techniques? 

♦ Was the teaching area arranged comfortably and appropri- 
ately for effective instruction for the students and myself? 

♦ Did 1 record behavioral observations about the students? 

♦ Did 1 record assessment data or summarize the students’ 
performance? 

♦ Were the students engaged and motivated throughout the 
lesson? 

♦ Did I discuss the results with my supervising teacher? 

What Can Teachers Do? 

General education and specialist teachers are responsible for 
directing a paraeducator’s work; however, many may not be 
well prepared for this role, especially if they are working with 
a paraeducator for the first time. “When school professionals 
provide good direction, they make the objectives and pur- 
poses of the task or lesson clear and they let the paraeducator 
know how much authority they have to make decisions asso- 
ciated with the task” (French, p. 111). Following are some sug- 



o 

ERIC 




gestions for understanding your responsibilities in working 
with paraeducators to create an effective instructional team: 

1. Direct and supervise paraeducators. Often problems 
that come up regarding roles for para-educators and teachers 
are based on delegation of duties. Some school staff will del- 
egate more authority and autonomy than others. The impor- 
tant issue is whether what has been delegated is appropriate 
for the teacher to delegate and the paraeducator to accept 
(Heller, 1997). 

As mentioned previously, different situations will have dif- 
ferent types of supervisory levels. Teachers also have individ- 
ual supervisory styles— some provide more structured 
guidelines, others may be less directive. Here are a few 
important things for all teachers who are directing the work 
of paraprofessionals to think about : 

♦ Make sure your expectations and directions are understood 
and that paraeducators have the knowledge and skills to 
fulfill your expectations. Ask the paraeducator what his or 
her expectations are from the teacher. 

♦ Keep in mind that appropriate delegation of tasks can 
increase your productivity. It can also provide paraeduca- 
tors with the opportunity to develop new skills and initia- 
tive (French, 1997). “Effective delegation is a process of 
steps: analyzing the task, deciding what to delegate, plan- ^ 
nine, selecting the right person, directing, and monitoring 
(French, p. 114). 

♦ “Provide clear, daily direction for coordinating plans, 
schedules, tasks and feedback” (Gerlach, 2001, p. 33). 



0 



25 



♦ Provide clear explanations and guidelines for paraeduca- 
tors’ role in instruction (drill-and-practice, assessments, 
adapting lesson plans according to teacher directions, and 
monitoring student performance). 

♦ Make sure paraeducators have the resources available to 
be most effective (including training). 

For more specific guidelines on supervision see Management 
of Paraeducators ( French, 1997). 

2. Facilitate a positive working relationship. The best 
teacher paraeducator teams are built on trust, recognition, 
respect, communication, and collaborative problem solving. 
This may not be easy to achieve. Many issues come up that 
might make effective teamwork challenging. For example, 
if a paraeducator works primarily with students but is not 
assigned a direct supervisory teacher, how can a teacher 
work with the paraeducator to plan and coordinate ser- 
vices? Paraeducators and teachers may also have very dif- 
ferent styles relating to students— a paraeducator may 
develop a different relationship with students than a 
teacher which might blur the lines of authority with them 
(Heller, 1997). It is easy to talk about being an effective 
team, but how does this look in practice? How can teachers 
foster these aspects? 

♦ Understand that you and a paraeducator may have differ- 
ent working styles, different cultural backgrounds, and 
different educational strategies that can affect your work- 
ing relationship. Take time to discuss these differences 
when you first start working together. 




26 



♦ Use the terms “we” and “us” instead of T and “you” to reaf- 
firm that you each have a responsibility in the learning 
process and are both accountable (Shellard, 2002). 

♦ Allow for “individual initiative.” Don’t expect a paraeduca- 
tor to have exactly the same approach to a task that you do. 

♦ Provide a schedule with a set meeting time at least weekly. 
Discuss how you will communicate if you don’t have time 
to meet. Discuss this with your principal if there is a prob 
lem finding a set time to meet. 

♦ Take time to listen to the paraeducator’s concerns and 
questions. 

3. Develop instructional plans for paraeducators. The 

teacher is responsible for developing plans for the paraeduca- 
tor. It may be a special education teacher, a general education 
teacher, the curriculum director, or all three. Certainly there 
is room for flexibility, especially if a paraeducator has a high 
level of experience and skills. For example, Level 3 paraedu 
cators ... have some discretionary authority to modify learn- 
ing activities that are developed by teachers/providers 
(Pickett, 1999, p. 23). A teacher does not have to be constantly 
looking over the shoulder of a paraeducator, but should cer 
tainly be directing their work. 

While plans do not have to follow a certain format, planning 
forms may help to clarify what the teacher expects the 
paraeducator to do in an instructional situation (see French, 
1997, for examples). A plan generally includes objectives, 
activities, and evaluation. As the teacher and paraeducator 
become more familiar with expectations, plans can be 



adapted and less formalized. A discussion of the teachers’ 
learning goals and teaching philosophy during the planning 
process will help paraeducators understand the basis for 
plans and put them into context. 

4. Provide feedback and effective evaluation. 

Evaluation should be an ongoing, continuous process 
designed not only to provide feedback for the paraeduca- 
tor, but to evaluate the team relationship. A formal evalua- 
tion process should be developed by the school administra- 
tor or district with teacher input. Discuss the evaluation 
criteria that will be used to assess the paraeducators’ per- 
formance. Let them know how often and when they will 
be evaluated. Provide an opportunity for paraeducators to 
offer feedback on your working relationship. When giving 
feedback, start with telling them what they do well, and 
then follow with constructive suggestions for improve- 
ment. . 

5. Recognize and respect the knowledge and exper- 
tise paraeducators bring to their role. Teachers should 
determine what unique skills, special interests, and train- 
ing paraeducators have that can complement their own. 

A paraeducator may be from the same community and/ 
or cultural background as the students, and thus may have 
an understanding of the students’ language and culture. 
This knowledge and experience can be greatly beneficial 
for developing personal relationships with students and 
developing insights into their learning styles, enhancing 
instruction and learning goals. Encourage paraeducators 
to share this knowledge and understanding with you 
(MCD, 2001a). Encourage paraeducators to seek profes- 
sional development to further their skills. 




28 



6. Discuss with paraeducators their role with students 
and families. Paraeducators need to know what their role is 
with students. How much authority do they have in correct- 
ing student behavior, assisting students with interpersona 
issues, or overseeing student activities, for example? Discuss 
the importance of confidentiality regarding both students 

and parents. 

Some districts hire paraeducators as “family advocates (see 
Hardin profile, Northwest Sampler section) to provide out- 
reach services to families and to encourage family involve- 
ment in their children’s learning. These paraeducators may 
also have a unique relationship with the family if they are 
from the same community or cultural background. To capi- 
talize on this role, here are some suggestions: 

♦ Encourage paraeducators to attend parent-teacher confer 
ences and meetings. If possible, hold these meetings when 
paraeducators can attend them. 

♦ Talk with paraeducators about their background in the com- 
munity and how their knowledge can be useful in helping 
you design instructional services. 

♦ Discuss the issues of confidentiality with student and par- 
ent information and other school policy issues and how 
those would relate to their role with students and families. 



What Can Principals Do? 

The principal is ultimately responsible for developing policies 
and standards for paraeducator employment. Principals are 
also responsible for promoting and modeling a professional 

29 



o 



climate within which roles and responsibilities are clearly 
delineated, understood, and respected. Administrators take 
the leadership role in creating a school climate in which 
paraeducators have a professional identity and contribute 
to activities that help to enhance student achievement” 
(Gerlach, 2001, p. 43). 

How can principals take the lead in ensuring the success 
of teacher/paraeducator teams? How can they ensure that 
paraeducators possess the knowledge and skills necessary 
to assist teachers with direct services to children? What can 
they do to build capacity for leadership in professional staff 
members to appropriately direct paraeducator’s work? 



Below are listed points for principals to consider: 

1. Develop clearly delineated roles for paraeducators 
based on school goals and policies. You should be aware of 
any federal, district, and state policies and guidelines for hiring 
paraeducators. Most important, all staff— administrators, teach- 
ers, and paraeducators— need to be aware of the guidelines so 
that paraeducators are not assigned to tasks for which they are 
unqualified, untrained, or inadequately supervised (Ashbaker 
& Morgan, 1999). Clearly differentiating between the role of 
teacher and paraeducator is important because they differ sig- 
nificantly, even though paraeducators and teachers often work 
side-by-side, appearing to perform similar tasks (Pickett, Vasa, 
& Steckelberg, 1993). A guiding principle is this: Teachers pro- 
vide leadership and clarify roles for paraeducators; paraeduca- 
tors assist teachers in meeting their instructional goals. Various 
factors may affect the responsibilities assigned to paraeduca- 
tors, such as their level of expertise in content areas and 
instruction. It is the administrator’s job to clarify these roles. 



30 



2. Develop job descriptions that clearly outline needed 
qualifications and expected responsibilities. Written 
job descriptions “help promote job satisfaction by eliminat 
ing apprehensions about what is expected (Pickett, Vasa, & 
Steckelberg, 1993). Job descriptions should be specific 
enough to provide necessary guidelines for responsibilities 
and evaluation of performance, and allow for adjustments 
to be made for paraeducators’ varying levels of expertise, 
individual working styles, and student needs. 

Ask for teacher input in developing the job description. 

Invite the potential supervisor to paraeducator interviews. 
This will help minimize possible conflicts between the 
teacher and paraeducator and will help clarify for both the 
paraeducator’s responsibilities (Vasa & Steckelberg, 1997). 

3. Provide consistent, competency-based training 
opportunities for paraeducators that provide a con- 
tinuum of experience.” New Title 1 legislation requires 
that paraeducators be well trained and prepared for their 
role in assisting with instruction. State legislators are work- 
ing on how to help districts meet these competency require- 
ments. As this process evolves, one thing is clear— training 
and support for paraeducators have traditionally not been 
supported, both fundamentally and financially in many 
schools and districts. Just as teachers and administrators 
need sustained professional development, so do paraeduca- 
tors. Professional development and training should be “long- 
range, comprehensive and systematic” (Pickett et al., p. 26). 
One-shot training sessions are generally less effective than a 
continuum of experiences; formal orientation to lay a foun 
dation, inservice sessions for enhancing skill development, 
on-the-job training, and opportunities for career enhance- 

31 



ment such as academic credit or teacher preparation pro- 
grams. 

♦ New paraeducator orientations should not end after a 
formal induction. Orient the paraeducator by introducing 
him or her to all staff members. Assign mentors to new 
paraeducators, such as an experienced paraeducator. 
Provide time for paraeducators to become familiar with 
their responsibilities by having them observe other para- 
educators or teachers. 

♦ Make district and other training opportunities available 
that match the specific job responsibilities, such as train- 
ing in a new reading curriculum. Often, scheduling time 
for paraeducators to attend inservice training is difficult; 
if at all possible, schedule training so that paraeducators 
can attend on paid time. If a district doesn’t offer specific 
training sessions, investigate those offered by national 
associations at conferences (such as the International 
Reading Association), colleges and universities, or techni- 
cal assistance centers. Encourage teachers and paraeduca- 
tors to attend the same sessions, or at least receive the 
same information that will provide better coordination 
of curriculum delivery. 

4. Provide training for teachers who are directing the 
work of paraeducators. Too often teachers are given the 
responsibility for directing the work of a paraeducator with- 
out any prior training in how to be a supervisor. They need 
training in time management, goal setting and feedback tech- 
niques, effective communication and collaboration, planning 
and delegation, role clarification, professionalism and ethics, 
problem solving, and providing feedback and evaluation of 



o 

ERIC 



32 



paraeducators. Find out which community colleges and uni- 
versities and technical assistance centers might provide this 
training. (See Resources section for some of those centers.) 

5. Support the teacher-paraeducator team. Probably the 
most important thing a principal can do to encourage a suc- 
cessful team relationship between teachers and paraeduca- 
tors is to build time into the schedule for them to plan, 
communicate, discuss student needs and progress, and 
receive feedback. It is not reasonable to expect teachers and 
paraeducators to meet outside scheduled work hours. While 
it may be difficult to schedule time, even scheduling a half 
hour on a regular basis will increase the team’s efficiency 
and ensure necessary communication. If a teacher is 
expected to direct the work of the paraeducator, this time is 
essential to ensure coordination of teacher expectations and 
paraeducator responsibilities. 

Other ways to support the team: 

♦ Meet with teachers to make sure they understand their role in 
directing paraeducators’ work and ensure that paraeducators 
understand who is responsible for supervising their work 

♦ Include paraeducators in staff meetings and encourage 
their input on school improvement, needs assessment, 
and site-based teams 

♦ Provide mailboxes and e-mail addresses to paraeducators 
so that they have a way to communicate with other staff 
members 

♦ Include paraeducators in parent-teacher conferences if 
appropriate 

♦ “Emphasize cooperation not competition” (Gerlach, 2001, 
p. 57) 



♦ Make sure teachers and paraeducators have the necessary 
skills for effective teamwork 

6. Develop an evaluative process for paraeducators and 
supervisors. Evaluating paraeducator performance is the 
job of the administrator, especially for more formal evalua- 
tions, and also of the immediate supervising teacher or certi- 
fied specialist who is responsible for ongoing formal and 
informal evaluations. Characteristics of effective evaluations 
include frequent performance observations; specific compe- 
tencies and performance standards to help paraeducators 
work on specific skills; honest, straightforward and tactful 
statements; and consistent evaluation standards for all pro- 
fessional team members (French, 1997). 

As mentioned previously, new Title 1 requirements state that 
one option for ensuring paraeducators are qualified, is or 
instructional paraeducators to pass a state or local assess- 
ment designed to demonstrate knowledge of and the ability 
to assist in reading, writing, and math instruction or readi- 
ness. Currently, state task forces such as in Washington are 
developing standards and policies for choosing and design- 
ing appropriate assessments. 

The National Center for Paraprofessionals in Education has 
developed specific performance indicators of skill mastery 
for teachers and paraeducators as well as the different expe- 
rience levels of paraeducator positions. These can be used as 
guidelines for school districts to develop their own perfor- 
mance guidelines after they have developed skill standards 
for various positions. For example, a Level 3 paraeducator 
whose responsibility is to assist teachers with assessing 
learner needs, should demonstrate the ability to use informal 



o 

ERIC 




assessment instruments developed by the teachers, adminis 
ter standardized tests, and assist teachers in maintaining 
learning records. 

The administrator should also evaluate the supervision of 
paraeducators. A checklist can be developed listing neces- 
sary components that answer four questions: 

♦ Are district/school policies in place that provide guide 
lines for informal/formal assessment? 

♦ Does the supervisor provide necessary support for ade- 
quate supervision (e.g., regular observation and feedback, 

lesson plans that list expectations)? 

♦ Does the supervisor provide appropriate support for the 
paraeducator (e.g., clear communication of expectations, 
appropriate job coaching, respect)? 

♦ Are objectives achieved for student outcomes (Vasa and 

Steckelberg, 1997)? 




o 

ERIC 



NORTHWEST SAMPLER 



Now that we have outlined some ideas for making paraedu- 
cators successful members of the instructional team, let’s 
look at what three schools and one school district in the 
Northwest are doing. Each of these schools employs paraed- 
ucators for different purposes. Some have reported success 
with increasing student achievement using paraeducators 
to tutor children in reading, or have found paraeducators 
beneficial in providing a connection for students and fami- 
lies to the school. The schools illustrate the common keys to 
success discussed in this booklet: administrative support 
and leadership; teacher direction of paraeducator work; 
respect for the unique role of paraeducators as part of a col- 
laborative team, and the importance of paraeducator train- 
ing, standards, and professional development. These are just 
a few of the many schools in the region and across the 
country implementing these keys to success. We provide 
contact information so schools can get in touch with each 
other to share ideas and learn from each other. 



36 




Location 

Houghtaling Elementary School 
2940 Baranof Road 
Ketchikan, AK 99901 



Contact 

Linda Hardin, District Curriculum Director 
Phone: 907-225-2118 
E-mail: hardinl@kgbsd.org 



Paraeducators Provide Group Instruction in 
Reading and Writing at Houghtaling 

At 9:05 Katy Hook, Title I instructional tutor at Houghtaling 
Elementary School, pops into a first-grade classroom and 
lets three children know it is time to come with her to her 
classroom. Mrs. Hook asks each child, Did you read your 
book to someone at home last night? If one child hasn t, 
Hook has the child read to her as they walk. 

Once inside the classroom, the children take their seats 
excitedly at the semicircular table with Mrs. Hook in the 
center. She asks the children if they would rather do their ^ 
writing job” first or phoneme skill cards first. “Writing job, 
the children say. Mrs. Hook pulls out each child s writing 
folder. She explains to a new child in the group that “when 
we want privacy while we write, we prop our folders up so 
others can’t see and call it ‘our office’.” Mrs. Hook pulls out a 
book, reads the story once, and then instructs them to write 
each word as she speaks it. With longer words, she says, 
“Write the sounds that you hear” 



o 

ERIC 



37 



Following the writing job, Mrs. Hook pulls out phoneme flash 
cards and the children quickly sound them out. For the last 
few minutes of this 30-minute period, the children select a 
book to take home and read aloud to someone at home for the 
next day. Mrs. Hook and her students have created a game 
board in which students advance a step as they read a book. 

Katy Hook has been a paraeducator at Houghtaling, one of 
five elementary schools in the Ketchikan Borough School 
District, for about 15 years. Of the 419 students, 156 are 
Alaska Native, and 133 (or 32 percent) are on the free and 
reduced-price lunch program. 

At Houghtaling, paraeducators who are hired under Title 1 
funds provide group instruction with teacher direction m 
reading and writing for students who have scored below the 
35th percentile on the Gates standardized test. Current y 
there are two Title 1 tutors, one Indian Education tutor, and 
one ESL tutor. Paraeducators also work in the school media 
center and with special needs students. 

Each tutor meets with a group of three to four children by 
grade level for 30 minutes a day, four days a week. Tutors also 
work with kindergarten students for 30 minutes to an hour 
each day. The tutors use Fridays for planning time (this time 
is paid), as well as time for working with individual children 
and assessing new students. 

In the fall, the tutors and teachers meet to discuss the read- 
ing scores of students who have not met the required per- 
centile. The teacher and tutor work together to coordinate 
instructional groups, both times and goals. With the tutors 
input, the teacher makes the decision regarding what 

38 



instructional methodology, such as guided reading, phone- 
mic awareness, or vocabulary, would be best for the group. 

All the tutors have been extensively trained in a program 
that integrates spelling, writing, and comprehension skills 
with the classroom reading curriculum. Each quarter the 
tutors use skill tests, which they have been trained to admin 
ister, to assess their students’ progress. They then meet with 
the teacher to discuss the results. 

On the day we visited the school, Hook was performing reading 
assessments for each student in her instructional group. During 
a typical session, Hook concentrates for the first 10-15 minutes 
on phonogram review and dictation (based on a districtwide 
reading program), and then moves into a guided reading format 
during which she reads a story, and has the children read the 
story while she cues for reading strategies. She concludes the 
session with children responding to the story in their journals. 

All the paraeducators are full-time staff members, paid for 
a seven-hour work day (as are the teachers). The paraeduca- 
tors and teachers are in the same union, although the para- 
educators’ contract is bargained separately from the 
teachers’. Paraeducators also bargained to receive the same 
health and professional development benefits as teachers. 

The principal evaluates the tutors as he does all his staff . 
Each year he observes the tutors four different times for 30 
minutes each. He also conducts two half-day formal observa 
tions per year. Teachers are on the same evaluation schedule. 

Structured planning time for teachers and tutors is available 
twice a month before the start of classes.When teachers and 
tutors aren’t able to meet, they meet at other times whenever 



either one sees the need. For example, if the teacher or the 
paraeducator has concerns about a students progress, t ey 
will meet to discuss strategies. Tutors receive a copy oi the 
teacher’s lesson plan for the week and use it to guide their 
tutoring sessions. Additionally, tutors have a copy ot the 
teacher’s reading instruction manual so they can follow the 
same curriculum as the teacher. In this way, the tutoring ses- 
sions complement the regular instruction. 

First grade teacher Mark O'Brien makes it a point to commu- 
nicate frequently with the tutors who work with his stu- 
dents. Each week he creates lesson plans for the tutors that 
include the vocabulary words and phonograms that he uses 
with the students. O’Brien, who has taught at Houghtahng 
for nine years, sees the work the tutors do with the students 
as an added reinforcement of the skills he teaches in his 
class Although he is ultimately responsible for creating the 
lessons, he asks the tutors for their input on adjusting lessons 
to meet the needs of the individual students. 

“I can see the impact [tutors have on the reading skills], com- 
ments O’Brien. “Many children of tentimes need the extra 
time spent on these skills to reach grade level,” he says. Time 
with tutors gives them more of that opportunity in a smai - 
group setting and gives them more individualized support. 

The tutors are included in staff meetings and offered paid staff 
development opportunities for training throughout the year. 
This past year, Hook was invited to attend the Internationa 
Reading Association with nine other district staff members. 
During her 15-year tenure at the school she has been able to 
take advantage of district curriculum training sessions to pro- 
vide her with more skills in tutoring students. Hooks job has 



evolved considerably from when she started. When first hired, 
she worked with special needs children in a special education 
classroom. At that time, aides, as they were called, were only 
employed in special education or as building aides perform- 
ing duties such as correcting papers, supervising playground 
activity and designing bulletin boards. Says Hook, As 
Alaska’s oil money dwindled and schools were forced to cut 
corners building aides were cut and certified positions were 
replaced with aides.” As accountability for student achieve- 
ment has grown, paraeducators have been employed to assist 
with student learning goals. For the past 10 years, Hook has 
worked as a Title I small-group instructional tutor. 

Because of her extensive experience at the school. Hook is 
the informal mentor to new tutors. When tutors Paula 
Varnell and Debby Hoyt first started, Hook spent at least one 
week with each-helping them find resources, introducing 
them to the staff, and reviewing curriculum strategies Hook 
has an open-door policy for the other tutors and they feel free 
to come to her for questions. 

Hook is forthright in discussing drawbacks to paraeducator 
employment, such as high turnover due mainly to the low 

pay scale (which is true in many schools). However, Hook 

would not still be assisting in instruction at Houghtaling after 
15 years if she didn’t obtain immense satisfaction from her 
work. What she sees that really makes a difference is her a 1 
itv to provide extra support to those children who are strug- 
gling. “What 1 can guarantee is that the personal attention 
these children receive is important.” As for her relations ip 
with teachers, Hook says she feels teachers and administrators 
truly value what she has to offer and view her and the other 
tutors as integral members of the instructional team. 




Location 

Oakwood Elementary School (Grades 3-5) 
252 S. 4th E. 

Preston, ID 82363 



Contact 

Reid Carlson, Principal 
Phone: 208-852-2233 
E-mail: reid@preston.kl2.id.us 

Paraeducators Provide Instructional Services 
and Much More at Oakwood 

Oakwood Elementary School is located in Preston, Idaho, a 
small, rural community near the Utah border. Although it 
serves a rural population, Oakwood is the only school in the 
Preston School District that serves grades 3-5, resulting in 
an enrollment consistently more than 500. The district also 
includes one high school, a small alternative high school, 
one junior high, and one K-2 school, Pioneer Elementary, 
which is located directly next to Oakwood. Because of the 
consolidated nature of the district, it makes sense for most 
policies and programs to be districtwide, with many shared 
characteristics from school to school. Although our focus 
here is on Oakwood, we also spoke with paraeducators from 
Pioneer Elementary, and with Dr. Jerry Waddoups, the 
Curriculum Director for the district. It’s clear that the two 
elementary schools, as well as the entire district, share a 
common set of goals, a common language, and a unified 
approach that mirrors the close-knit quality of their com- 
munity. 

42 

o 

ERIC 




At Oakwood, paraeducators are an essential part of the 
instructional team. Every classroom has a paraeducator for 
at least part of the day, working primarily one-to-one or in 
small groups, with a focus on reading, writing, and basic 
m^rVi skills. Paraeducators are also used extensively 



cial education, in the library, and to staff the resource room. 
They have been invaluable in the implementation of the 
school’s multifaceted approach to reading instruction, which 
involves guided reading, Reading Renaissance programs 
including frequent, individualized STAR Reading assess 
ments, as well as SR A /McGraw-Hill programs. 



Paraeducators are viewed as an essential part of the schools 
professional staff. They are included in many professional 
development opportunities, including an annual 
Paraeducator Training Conference in Utah, and a recent two- 
day training program in a corrective reading program. One 
day a month is given to preparation, which often involves 
inservice training on issues such as behavioral management, 
or specific curriculum programs. Early-out Fridays provide 
teachers and paraeducators with ample planning time. 

The hiring process at Oakwood reflects their view of paraed 
ucators as qualified professionals. Wie use about the same 
process to hire paraeducators as we do teachers, says Dr. 
Waddoups. “That includes two different interviews, and 
involves the principal, the superintendent, and a teacher. 
We’re very proud of the quality of our paraeducators.” 

While paraeducators have always had an important place 
at Oakwood, many of them credit the districts former spe- 
cial education director, Dave Forbush, with increasing the 
focus on professionalism. “He was our advocate,” says 

43 




Sharon Durant, who has been a paraeducator at Oakwood 
for 20 years. “He increased our training and professional 
development the last couple of years, which really helped. 
And he gave us more of a voice within the district. Several 
other paraeducators we spoke with also mentioned 
Forbush’s tenure at the school as a turning point. Forbush 
was able to not only increase professional standards for 
paraeducators, but also to increase the district’s attention 
to their rights and professional development opportunities. 
The awareness of the important role paraeducators play is 
now even more firmly entrenched at both the school and 
district levels. 



One unique factor at Oakwood is its proximity to Utah State 
University, just across the state line in Logan, Utah. “Eighty 
percent of our teachers are Utah State graduates,” says prin- 
cipal Reid Carlson. “They do an outstanding job training 
teachers, especially special education teachers.” The close 
ties to Utah State have resulted in several professional devel- 
opment opportunities, including a class on improving the 
working relationship between teachers and paraeducators. 
“That really helped focus our observations on each other,” 
says Sherrie Moser, another long-term paraeducator, It 
really did help the relationships.” 



While Utah State provides the district with many well- 
trained beginning teachers, it also results in a slightly 
higher turnover rate. “A lot of the people we hire are first- 
time teachers, right out of Utah State,” says Waddoups. 
“Many of them are starting their professional careers, start- 
ing families-there are a lot of factors involved.” The result, 
he points out, is that “a lot of our paraeducators outlast our 
teachers.” 




The eight paraeducators we spoke with ranged in experi- 
ence from first-year to more than 20 years, but the majority 
had been at the school for more than 10 years. This contrast 
between first-time teachers and long-term paraeducators 
could be the source for some interesting challenges, but it 
has rarely been a problem at Oakwood. “We know our role,” 
says paraeducator Valyn Andersen. “You learn not to be 
pushy in those first few months,” she adds. “You have to be 
very sensitive to individual teaching styles and let them 
make their own discoveries. Usually, they 11 start to appreci 
ate your experience right away, and draw on it, without feel 
ing threatened.” The roles are clear and the focus is on 
teamwork, agree the others with whom we spoke. Paraedu- 
cators are always working under the direction of certified 
teachers, but they are treated as equal members of the 
instructional team, with valuable experience and insights 
that are fully appreciated. 

Another key to their success is peer mentoring. Long-term 
paraeducators often serve as mentors to both their fellow 
. paraeducators and to inexperienced teachers who seek their 
advice. It is a smooth-running system that relies in equal 
parts on the wisdom and experience of long-term staff and 
on the clear, but flexible, policies developed by the district. 
There is an appreciation for the varying levels of paraeduca- 
tor experience at Oakwood, which allows for a less rigid, 
more fluid delineation of roles not always possible at other 
schools. The impression one gets from a visit to Oakwood is 
of a highly professional, but family-type atmosphere, where 
every staff member is appreciated and all are focused on pro- 
viding the best education possible to each student. 




45 




Location 

Hardin Public Schools (PreK-12) 
Route 1 Box 1001 
Hardin, MT 59034-9707 



Contact 

Janice Eckman 

Title I Parent Involvement Coordinator 
Phone: 406-665-6438 
E-mail: eckmangh@wtp.net 



Paraeducators Play Multiple Roles in 
Instruction, Family Advocacy, and Indian 
Education at Hardin Public Schools 

Hardin Public Schools consists of two districts that encom- 
pass a very large geographical area in southeastern Montana. 
District 1 consists of Hardin High School, and draws stu 
dents from throughout the entire area, many of them busing 
in from more than an hour away. District 17-H consists of 
Hardin’s primary (PreK-2), intermediate (3-5), and middle 
schools (6-8), but also includes the Fort Smith School (K-5), 
which is more than an hour away from Hardin, and the 
Crow Agency School (K-6), which is on the Crow Indian 
Reservation. Hardin Itself is a small town just across the 
northern border of the reservation. The two districts 
together have an average enrollment of 1,700 students, 
of which about 56 percent are Native American, predomi- 
nantly Crow, but also including some students from the 
neighboring Northern Cheyenne Reservation. Many of the 
students come from homes where the Crow language is 



o 

ERLC 



46 





either predominant or of equal importance to English. Many 
also live in extremely rural areas, often without telephones. 
The challenges that face the districts can seem as immense 
as the beautiful, windswept prairie that surrounds it, but 
their successes mirror the strength and soul of the people. 

One important factor in Hardin Public Schools’ many suc- 
cesses is the role that paraeducators play, both in the classroom 
and in bridging the gap between the schools and the families 
they serve. The Parent Center for Hardin Public Schools con 
sists of Parent Involvement Coordinator Janice Eckman, and 
two Family Advocates, Davene Big Lake and Ruth Harris 
Federal Programs Director Beth Howe Hugs is in charge of 
all supervision, evaluations, and hiring for the center. 

The approach that Hardin Public Schools takes to the use of 
paraeducators exhibits the key ingredients we have seen in 
all effective programs. As Beth Hugs says, “You won t see our 
paraeducators standing around the copier machine. They’re 
in the classroom and out in the community Besides the 
Parent Center, there are paraeducators in every classroom, in 
special education, in the library, in the high school’s learning 
lab, and in the computer labs that are in every school. There 
are paraeducators staffing the after-school tutoring pro- 
grams, and there are four paraeducators at the Crow Agency 
School who received full training from MSU-Billings in the 
teaching of Native American children and teaching to indi 
vidual learning styles. 

In addition, almost all paraeducators are full-time staff dur- 
ing the nine-month school year, and after two years are 
offered health care benefits, sick leave, paid holidays, and 
retirement plans. The districts will even go to great lengths 

47 

'% ■ ' 




to offer summer employment to those paraeducators who 
request it, whether on the grounds crew or building mainte- 
nance or doing office work. Paraeducators are also included 
in many professional development opportunities, such as 
Montana Education Association training sessions and family 
literacy conferences. The districts are involved in a teacher 
training program with Little Bighorn College and MSU 
Billings, which pays tuition, materials, and a small monthly 
stipend to Native Americans who wish to become certified 
teachers. Paraeducators are given first priority in the pro- 
gram. Graduates of the program are strongly encouraged, 
though not required, to seek employment with schools serv- 
ing reservations. Hugs estimates that more than 100 Native 
American students in the program will be certified within 

the next five years. 

The hiring of paraeducators is done building by building 
and often includes a current paraeducator in addition to a 
certified teacher and school administrator. At least one 
member of all screening and interview committees in the 
two districts must be of Native American heritage— one 
example of a cultural awareness that might seem obvious, 
but is by no means a given in similar schools around the 
country. Throughout the districts there is an intense focus 
on offering a culturally appropriate education, which 
includes the teaching of the Crow language at the middle 
and high schools. Tutors who speak Crow are also available 
at all grade levels, and the student advocates in each build- 
ing are well versed in the culture. 

All paraeducators work under the direct supervision of a 
certified teacher or an administrator. As Hugs says, “In the 
past, Title I used to be a dumping ground for burned-out 



o 

ERLC 




teachers, but that has changed. We have made every effort to. 
provide the best teachers for those students with the greatest 
needs” All the teachers treat their paraeducators as co-teach- 
ers, she notes, but the roles are clearly delineated. Its team 
teaching in the best sense. Students often don t know the 
difference between a teacher and a paraeducator in the class 
room, but the roles are clear.” This teamwork is based on sig- 
nificant planning time between teachers and paraeducators, 
including grade-level meetings every Friday afternoon. 
“There are detailed job descriptions for paraeducators, says 
Hugs, “as well as policies and grievance procedures specifi- 
cally for them.” 

In the Parent Center, all these policies and procedures are 
seen to great effect. The roles of each member are clearly 
defined and the teamwork is seamless. Every summer, 
Davene Big Lake (a Crow tribal member who speaks the lan- 
guage fluently) and Ruth Harris attempt to make home vis 
its to every family with a child entering kindergarten. With 
an average of 130 kindergarten students each year, spread 
over three different schools, and with families many miles 
apart, it is a daunting goal, but one that the two family advo- 
cates take very seriously. “We want parents to feel welcome 
right from the beginning,” says Big Lake. “It’s really impor- 
tant to make that initial contact.” These visits are also 
informative, giving parents an idea of the many resources 
available to them, including free books, materials dealing 
with phonemic awareness, and information from the Indian 
Health Center regarding dental care, nutrition, immuniza- 
tion, and parenting skills. 

These home visits are only the beginning. Throughout the 
school year the parent involvement program offers a variety 



of events and resources. There are Family Fun Nights once 
a month, as well as Family Game Nights, Bingo for Books, a 
Christmas crafts program, Cooking with Kids, and many 
other activities. “It’s been a great way to educate the commu- 
nity,” says Eckman. “We’ve had some trial and error, like the 
time we had to make 350 ice cream sundaes, but these pro 
grams have been a great success. 

The Parent Center itself offers a wide variety of resources. 
There are books and videos available for checkout, board 
games, computers with Internet access, and information on 
ADD/ ADHD, parenting skills,, approaches to discipline, deal- 
ing with homework, and reading with children, among other 
things. But the most important and effective resource is the 
staff. “We all feel so strongly that what we’re doing is impor- 
tant,” says Eckman. “Everything we do is focused on the goal 
of bridging the gap between the schools and the parents. 

In the Hardin Public Schools, paraeducators play many dif- 
ferent roles, but whether they are in the classroom or out in 
the community, they have the same professionalism and pas- 
sion for their work as the best teachers. “I think in many 
ways we are less intimidating to parents than certified 
teachers or administrators,” says Harris. “We’re their advo- 
cates and we can give the school a human face. 

“At the same time, we’re advocates for our teachers,” adds 
Eckman. “Every time we make contact with parents it’s an 
opportunity to bridge that gap.” 



50 




Location 

Cherrydale Primary School (K-2) 

1201 Galloway Street 
Steilacoom, WA 98388 

Contact 

Penny Jackson, Director of Pupil Services 
Phone: 253-983-2506 

E-mail: Pejackson@steilacoom.kl2.wa.us 

Paraeducators Provide Group Reading 
Instruction at Cherrydale Primary 

Stopping in the small town of Steilacoom, just south of 
Tacoma, is a refreshing break from the traffic-snarled free- 
way that joins Seattle to Portland. No fast food restaurants, 
gas stations, or Starbucks are present here, but 35 struc- 
tures— including the state’s first library and courthouse- 
are more than a- century old in the state’s first incorporated 

town. 

Cherrydale Primary School, located up the hill from the 
National Historic District, has been newly renovated to pro- 
vide a child-welcoming environment for the 350 K-2 stu- 
dents. Reading instruction has also been recently 
reengineered so that students who need additional intensive 
instruction to meet standards receive it. 

The “reading continuum” that provides these children group 
tutoring in addition to their regular classroom reading 
instruction has influenced the way paraeducators are 

51 



0 




employed at Cherrydale. Prior to fall 2000, paraeducators 
were employed primarily as teacher assistants, with each 
one assigned to a teacher. Depending on the teacher, each 
assistant would have different responsibilities. They were not 
necessarily trained in the curriculum, and their work was 
not coordinated by anyone except the individual teacher. 

During the one and one-half -hour reading block, paraeduca- 
tors provide small-group instruction to Title I students in 
the class for 25 minutes. Five Title 1 and special education 
paraeducators work under the direction and supervision of 
the Title I specialist, Shawn Munsey, and the special educa- 
tion specialist, Danita Ross. Munsey and Ross direct the work 
of their respective paraeducators and meet together weekly 
to coordinate lesson plans. 

The reading curriculum that paraeducators use emphasizes 
phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension skills. 
Students who need extra assistance also receive an addi- 
tional 25 minutes of small-group instruction during their 
regular class time, for a total of two hours of block reading 
instruction. 

Director of Pupil Services Penny Jackson, Munsey, and Ross 
all consider the paraeducators highly valuable members of 
the instructional team, now that the paraeducators are work- 
ing with students toward specific educational goals. The 
keys to their effectiveness have been: 

♦ Specific qualifications , criteria, and trainingfor 
Cherry dale’s paraeducators. They are required to meet 
Washington state’s 14 Core Competencies for Paraedu- 
cators. The competencies describe the awareness, knowl- 

52 





edge, understanding, and abilities that paraeducators 
must demonstrate in order to work with students with 
disabilities. (See www.paraeducator.com/html/ compe- 
tencies.htm for a full list). They include ability to commu- 
nicate with colleagues, follow instructions, and use 
problem-solving skills to work as an effective team mem- 
ber. Paraeducators can receive training that is scheduled 
during inservice days through Puget Sound ESD and the 
district. Upon successful completion of the training pro- 
gram, participants receive a certificate of completion. 
Paraeducators have also been extensively trained in the 
school’s reading curriculum, including at least two full 
days of initial training plus ongoing training. 

♦ Excellent communication between teachers and paraeduca- 
tors. Every Friday the paraeducators meet with the Title I 
and special education teachers to plan. All paraeducators 
have a folder for each child with whom they work that 
includes a lesson plan for the week and assessments. The 
teachers and paraeducators go over the students’ progress 
during their meetings, discussing what is and what isn t 
working. Although there is no formal time allotted for the 
classroom teachers and paraeducators to meet, they get 
together informally when necessary. The classroom teach- 
ers also have access to the paraeducators’ folders for each 
child. Says Munsey, Title 1 specialist, “Teachers talk with 
paraeducators constantly about their students.” 

♦ Administration, board member, and school staff support. 
Munsey states that she values the paraeducators as fellow 
educators. She notes that initially the change from class- „ 
room assistants to instructional aides was “disconcerting” 
for some teachers. However, as the teachers began to see 




53 




dramatic improvement in their students who are tutored, 
they became supportive of the paraeducators role. The 
paraeducators also see how their contributions contribute 
to measurable improvement in their students’ reading abil- 
ity. “It is a more rewarding role for them,” says Munsey. 

“The district has more paraeducators than most other dis- 
tricts in Washington because administrators here see the 
benefits that these well-trained staff members bring to the 
reading instruction,” say both Munsey and Ross. 

♦ Specific guidelines for the roles of paraeducators. Cherry- 
dale’s paraeducators provide. intensive reinforcement of 
reading skills under the direction and supervision of the 
Title 1 teachers. Classroom teachers also direct the work of 
the paraeducators. In one classroom, three groups are bro- 
ken out into separate tables, a teacher working with a gen- 
eral education group, and two Title I paraeducators each 
working with a group. Other teachers prefer to have the 
paraeducators working in the hall outside the classroom 
for the 25 allotted minutes. 

Jackson and the specialist teachers all see the great progress 
children are making with the benefit of well-trained paraedu 
cators, directed by the teacher specialists. In Title I, the first- 
grade students advanced from the 28th percentile in fall 2000 
to the 67th percentile in spring 2001. Second-grade students 
iflcrgased a.s well. One student moved from the 4th percentile 
to the 67th percentile in one year! Says Munsey, “I see these 
kids reading with greater fluency than before they started 
working with the paraeducators.” As a matter of fact, both 
first and second grade doubled their fluency rates in one year. 



ERIC 



54 



CONCLUSION 



As we can see from the Northwest Sampler profiles, paraed 
ucators can offer tremendous benefits for children. They pro- 
vide instructional reinforcement that enhances every 
student’s opportunity to learn, meet standards, and achieve 
academic success. They are a vital link between the school 
and the community. It is well worth the effort to provide 
them with the best training and support possible. As Pickett 
and Gerlach emphasize: 

“It is important that the contributions paraeducators ... make 
to improving the quality and productivity of education and 
related services not be overlooked; and that standards for 
their employment, roles, supervision, and preparation be 
established and opportunities for staff development and 
professional growth be institutionalized (1997, p. 266). 

We hope that this booklet provides some suggestions for 
making paraeducators productive and beneficial members 
of the instructional team. We urge you to consult the 
Resources and References sections for additional informa 

tion. 



55 




APPENDIX: 

EXISTING OR PROPOSED 
S TAT E PARAEDUCATOR 
CERTIFICATION POLICIES 



Alabama. Letter of approval 
required. Thirty hours of for- 
mal training; permanent. 
Delaware. Permit with 
requirements not specified; 
must have evaluated experi- 
ence and training and skills 
relevant to the position; per- 
manent. 

Florida. Legislation outlin- 
ing career ladder with LEA 
option (not mandatory) 
passed in 1998. Current reg- 
ulations specify standards 
and procedures that apply 
to teacher aides, including 
health, age, knowledge of 
policies, and instructional 
practices. 

Georgia. State license 
requires two years of college 
or 50 hours; renewable every 
three years, requiring addi- 
tional 50 hours instruction 
or inservice. 

Idaho. Special education - 
state standards for knowl- 



edge and performance. 
Recommendations for orien- 
tation and training in first 
year of employment. 

Illinois. State certificate 
requires completion of a 
teacher aide training pro- 
gram approved by the 
superintendent or 30 semes- 
ter hours; permanent. Legis- 
lation pending for revision 
and creation of task force to 
study issue. 

Indiana. Special educa- 
tion— appropriately trained 
paraprofessionals may work 
under the direction of a 
teacher or related services 
personnel. Public agencies 
must provide preservice and 
inservice training. 

Iowa. New hires must com- 
plete inservice in first year 
of employment. LEAs must 
have staff development plan 
that includes paraeducators. 
Special education— preser- 

56 



vice and inservice require- 
ments. Certificate granted to 
those who complete a recog- 
nized paraeducator prepara- 
tion program with 90 clock 
hours of training. 

Kansas. The state requires a 
permit for special education 
only. Effective May 2000, 
state regulations are no 
longer in effect, but districts 
must follow these standards 
in order to receive state 
reimbursement of approxi- 
mately$8,000 per special 
education paraprofessional. 
Level 1— Twenty hours, 
renewable every year. Level 
2— Thirty semester hours 
plus 450 hours inservice 
plus two years’ experience at 
Level 1; renew every three 
years. Level 3— Sixty semes- 
ter hours or AA degree plus 
900 hours inservice plus 
three years at Level 2; renew 
every three years. 

Maine. Education techni- 
cian/Level I— high school 
diploma, orientation, ongo- 
ing inservice. Education 
technician/Level II— Two 
years college plus inservice. 
Education technician/LejSj4j7 



III— three years college plus 
inservice. All are renewed 
yearly. 

Maryland. State task force 
report recommending licen- 
sure standards presented to 
state legislature in 1998; no 
LEA mandate. 2001-Devel- 
opment of state regulations 
in progress. 

Minnesota. Minnesota 
Omnibus Education Bill of 
1998 requires school boards 
in districts where parapro- 
fessionals are employed in 
programs for students with 
disabilities to ensure that: 
Paraprofessionals have suffi- 
cient knowledge and skills in 
various areas, annual train- 
ing opportunities to further 
develop knowledge and 
skills, and ongoing direction 
of their work by a licensed 
teacher, and where appropri- 
ate and possible, the supervi- 
sion of a school nurse. 
Mississippi. Assistant 
teacher; complete the read- 
ing, language arts, and math 
portions of a current nation- 
ally normed eighth grade 
standardized achievement 
test (exempt if holding a 



teaching certificate). HS 
diploma or GED; participate 
in annual training provided 
by the district. 

Missouri. State require- 
ment for instructional aides 
only of 60 hours college; 
renewed yearly. 

New Hampshire. State 
Certificate. HS diploma, one 
year experience; complete a 
two-week orientation ses- 
sion on special education. 
Certified paraprofessionals 
must complete 50 hours in 
areas determined by the 
professional development 
master plan for their district. 
Newjersey. 

Paraprofessional positions 
are approved by the county 
superintendent of schools 
who must develop job 
descriptions and standards 
for appointment. 

New Mexico. State require- 
ment that paraprofessional 
must complete a training 
program designed by local 
school district. Training 
varies according to district 
and how they use parapro- 
fessionals. 



New York. State certified. 
Teacher aide: must fulfill civil 
service requirements; respon- 
sibilities are non-teaching. 
Teaching assistant— tempo- 
rary license: HS diploma; 
responsibilities are instruc- 
tional in nature. Teaching 
assistant— continuing certifi- 
cate: six hours of collegiate 
study; one year of experience; 
responsibilities are instruc- 
tional in nature. Teaching 
assistant— Level I: HS 
diploma; satisfactory level of 
performance on the New 
York State Teacher Certifi- 
cation Examination Test. 
Teaching assistant— Level II: 
all requirements of Level I 
plus six hours of collegiate 
study. Teaching assistant- 
Level III: all requirements of 
Level II plus 18 hours of colle- 
giate study. Teaching 
assistant— paraprofessional 
certificate: all requirements 
of Level III plus must be 
matriculated in a program 
registered as leading to 
teacher certification. 

Ohio. State permit. 
Education aide needs skills 



3 

ERIC 



58 



sufficient to do the job, one- 
year permit. Education 
Assistant— high school 
diploma and participation in 
unspecified inservice train- 
ing under a one-year permit; 
renewed every four years. 
Oklahoma. Legislation 
passed 1999; in process 
at state department of 
education. 

Oregon. Under discussion 
at state department of edu- 
cation 

Pennsylvania. State certi- 
fied (private schools only). 
Rhode Island. State 
requirement. High school 
diploma; training at discre- 
tion of district (Rhode 
Island Federation of 
Teachers is working to 
revise). 

South Carolina. HS 

diploma; participation in 
preservice and inservice 
training programs for aides. 
Texas. State certified. 
Education Aide— high 
school diploma and experi- 
ence working with children; 
Education Aide II— Fifteen 
hours college or demon- 



strated proficiency; Educa- 
tion Aide Ill-Thirty hours 
college and three years as 
Aide I or II. Legislation 
introduced for revision, 

1999. 

Utah. Standards for special 
education paraeducators 
were developed and 
approved by state board in 
May 1995. Collaboration 
with the state office of edu- 
cation, school districts, and 
two- and four-year institutes 
created two-year associate 
degree programs for paraed- 
ucator development that is 
articulated to four-year spe- 
cial education and elemen- 
tary education teacher 
preparation programs. 
Vermont. Level I— Six hours 
college, renewed yearly. . 
Level II— Thirty hours col- 
lege plus one year experi- 
ence, renewed every two 
years. Level III— Sixty hours 
college plus two years’ expe- 
rience, renewed every three 
years. Level IV-Ninety 
hours college, renew every 
four years. Personnel stan- 
dards for paraprofessionals 



will be included in special 
education rules in 2002. 
Washington. Current 
system defined but not 
mandatory. 

Wisconsin. Special educa- 
tion only. Three years col- 
lege or three years 
supervising youth activities 
or some combination that 
can include two years at 
voc-tech school specializing 
in childcare, renewed every 
five years. 



Source: Adapted from a 
table on the American 
Federation of Teachers Web 
site www.aft.org/psrp/ 
certification/ status.html, 
retrieved 1/10/ 02 with addi 
tional updates provided by 
paraeducator experts. 



RESOURCES 



NWREL staff members will gladly answer requests for basic 
information, provide references, and suggest referra s to 
available resources. Please call Karen Schmidt or Carlos 
Sundermann at 1-800-547-6339 

American Federation of Teachers Paraprofessional and 
School-Related Personnel Web site www.aft.org/psrp/ 



o 

ERLC 



Minnesota Paraprofessional Consortium 

University of Minnesota 

111 Pattee Hall; 150 Pillsbury Drive SE 

Minneapolis, MN 55455 

612-624-9893 , , , 

Web site: http://ici 2 .coled.umn.edu/para/delault.ntmi 

Montana Paraeducator Development Project 

Montana State University at Billings 

Web site: www.msubillings.edu/mtcd/paraed/ 

National Resource Center for Paraprofessionals in 
Education and Related Services 

Utah State University 

Logan, UT 84322-6526 

435-797-7272 

Web site: www.nrcpara.org 

Contact: Marilyn Likins, Co-Director or Teri Wallace, Co-Director 
E-mail: marilyn@nrcpara.org or walla001@umn.edu 

The PAR 2 A Center 

University of Colorado at Denver 
Contact: Dr. Nancy French, Director 
Web site: http://paracenter.cudenver.edu/ 

61 



The Center provides the Paraeducator Supervision Academy, 
comprehensive curriculum packages for paraeducators serving 
English Language Learners, students with low-incidence disabil- 
ities, and many more professional development opportunities. 

Washington Education Association 
Paraeducator Issues Web Site 

www.wa.nea.org/PRF_PV/PARA_ED/PARA.HTM 

www.paraeducator.com , 

A resource for paraeducators in Washington state. Includes 
training modules in the core competencies for paraeduca- 
tors, online discussion groups, and fact sheets concerning 
new Title 1 requirements. 

French, N. (in press). Administrator’s desk reference on para 
educators. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press. 

Giangreco, M.F., Edelman, S.W., & Broer, S.M. (2001). A guide 
to schoolwide planningfor paraeducator supports. Burlington, 
VT: University of Vermont. Retrieved April 22, 2002, from 
www.uvm.edu/ cdci/parasupport/ guide.html 

North Dakota Department of Public Instruction Paraeducator 
Task Force. (2000). Resource manual: The implementation oj 
effective paraeducator practices in educational settings. Bis- 
marck ND: North Dakota Department of Public Instruction. 
Retrieved February 5, 2002 from wwwdpUtateJidus/speced/resource/ 

Schmidt, K., & Greenough, R. ( 2002). Designing state and 
local policies for the professional development of instructional 
paraeducators. Portland, OR: Northwest Regional 
Educational Laboratory. Retrieved April 22, 2002, from: 
www.nwrac.org/links/ paraed.html 

62 



o 



REFERENCES 



American Federation of Teachers, (n.d.). Credting d cldssroom 
team: How tedchers dnd pdrdeducdtors can mdke working 
together work. Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved 
February 5, 2002, from www.aft.org/newmembers/ 
downloads/creating.pdf 



Ashbaker, B.Y., & Morgan, J. (1999, March). The ‘ S’ in ASCD: 
Tedchers supervising pdrdeducdtors for professiondl devel 
opment. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 
Association for Supervision and Curriculum Develop 
ment, San Francisco, CA. (ERIC Document Reproduction 
Service No. ED432561) 



Ashbaker, B.Y., & Morgan/J. (2000-2001). Paraeducators: A 
powerful human resource. Stredmlined Semindr, 19(1), 

1-3. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. 
ED453573) 

Center for Research on Education, Diversity & Excellence 
(CREDE). (n.d.). Robert Ruedd biogrdphy. Santa Cruz, CA: 
Author. Retrieved April 23, 2002, from 

www.crede.ucsc.edu/about/bios/ruedabio.html 

French, N.K. (1997). Management of paraeducators. In A.L. 
Pickett & K. Gerlach (Eds.), Supervising pdrdeducdtors in 
school settings: A team dpprodch (pp. 91-169). Austin, TX: 
ProEd. 

Gerber, S.B., Finn, J.D, Achilles, CM, & Boyd-Zaharias,J. (2001). 
Teacher aides and students’ academic achievement. 
Educdtiondl Evdludtion and Policy Andlysis, 23(2), 123-143. 

63 

ERIC 



Gerlach, K. (2001). Let’s team up: A checklist for paraeduca- 
tors, teachers, and principals. Annapolis Junction, MD: 
National Education Association Professional Library. 

Ghedam, B. (2001). Public school student, staff and graduate 
counts by state, school year 1999-2000 [Statistics in brief]. 
Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, 

National Center for Education Statistics. 

Heller, W. (1997). Professional and ethical responsibilities of 
team members. In A.L. Pickett & K. Gerlach (Eds.), 
Supervising paraeducators in school settings: A team 
approach (pp. 207-234). Austin, TX: ProEd. 

IDEA Partnerships. (2001). IDEA Partnerships Paraprofes- 
sional Initiative: Report to the U.S. Department of 
Education, Office of Special Education Programs. 
Arlington, VA: Council for Exceptional Children. 

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Amendments of 
1997, PL. 105-17, 105th Cong. (1997). Retrieved April 17, 
2002, from www.ed.gov/offices/OSERS/Policy/ 
IDEA/the_law.html 

Iowa Department of Education. (1998). Guide for effective 
par aeducator practices in Iowa. Des Moines, IA. Author. 

Leighton, M.S., O’Brien, E., Walking Eagle, K, Weiner, L, 
Wimberly, G., & Youngs, P. (1997). Roles for education 
paraprofessionals in effective schools: An idea book. 
Washington, DC: Policy Studies Associates. (ERIC 
Document Reproduction Service No. ED413317) 



o 

ERIC 



64 



Montana Center on Disabilities [MCD]. (2001a). 

Paraeducators as links to the community [MS PowerPoint 
presentation materials]. Billings, MT: Montana State 
University, College of Education and Human Services. 
Retrieved April 17, 2002, from www.msubillings.edu/ 

mtcd/paraed/Newparaedlink.ppt 

Montana Center on Disabilities [MCD], (2001b). Montana's 
paraeducator resource guide. Billings, MT: Montana State 
University, College of Education and Human Services. 
Retrieved April 17, 2002, from www.msubillings.edu/ 
mtcd/paraed/index.htm 

Monzo, L.D., & Rueda, R.S. (2001). Socioculturalfactors in 
social relationships: Examining Latino teachers and 
paraeducators ’ interactions with Latino students. 
(Research Report No. 9). Santa Cruz, CA: Center for 
Research on Education, Diversity and Excellence. 

(ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED451724) 

No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, PL. 107-110, 107th 
Congress. (2001). Retrieved April 17, 2002, from 
www.ed.gov/legislation/ESEA02/ 

Pickett, A.L. (1999). Strengthening and supporting 
teacher/ provider-par aeducator teams: Guidelines 
for paraeducator roles , supervision, and preparation. 
Logan, UT: National Resource Center for Paraprofes- 
sionals in Education and Related Services. (ERIC 
Document Reproduction Service No. ED440506) 

Pickett, A.L, & Gerlach, K. (1997). Paraeducators in school 
settings: The future. In A.L. Pickett & K. Gerlach (Eds.), 



o 



65 



Supervising paraeducators in school settings: A team 
approach (pp. 263-267). Austin, TX: ProEd. 

Pickett, A.L., Steckelberg, A.L., & Vasa, S.F. (1993, April). 

Promoting effective communications with paraeducators. 
Paper presented at the annual conference of the Council 
for Exceptional Children, San Antonio, TX. (ERIC 
Document Reproduction Service No. ED357586) 

Pickett, A.L., Vasa, S.F, & Steckelberg, A.L. (1993). Using 
paraeducators effectively in the classroom (Fastback No. 
358). Bloomington, IN: Phi Delta Kappa Educational 
Foundation. (ERIC Document Reproduction No. 
ED369732) 

Project PARA, (n.d.). Training resources for paraeducators. 
Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska _ Lincoln. 

Retrieved April 21, 2002, from 

http://para.unl.edu/para/Roles/Lessonl.html 

Rueda, R, & DeNeve, C. (1999). Building cultural bridges: 

The role of paraeducators in diverse classrooms. 
Reaching Today’s Youth, 3(2), 53-57. 

Rueda, R.S, & Monzo, L.D. (2000). Apprenticeship for teach- 
ing: Professional development issues surrounding the col- 
laborative relationship between teachers and 
paraeducators. Santa Cruz, CA: Center for Research on 
Education, Diversity and Excellence. (ERIC Document 
Reproduction Service No. ED444385) 

Shellard, E. (2002). Using paraeducators effectively. Arlington 
VA: Educational Research Service. 




66 



Snyder T.D., & Hoffman, C.M. (1993). Digest of education 
statistics 1993. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of 
Education, National Center for Education Statistics. 

Snyder, T.D., & Hoffman, C.M. (2001). Digest of education 
statistics 2000. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of 
Education, National Center for Education Statistics. 

Vasa, S., & Steckelberg, A. (1997). Paraeducators in school 
settings: Administrative issues. In A.L. Pickett & K. 
Gerlach (Eds.), Supervising paraeducators in school set- 
tings: A team approach (pp. 235-262). Austin, TX: ProEd. 



o 



67 



ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 



Review 

Dr. Nancy French, Director, PAR 2 A Center, University of Colorado at Denver 
Dr. Kent Gerlach, Professor of Special Education, Pacific Lutheran University 
Dr. Marilyn Likins, Co-Director, National Resource Center for 
Paraprofessionals in Education and Related Services 

Dr. Paul Palm, Director, Comprehensive Center 
Richard Greenough, Associate, Planning and Program Development 
Barbara Hansen, Associate, Comprehensive Center 
Lesley Harrison, Associate, Assessment Program 
Dr. Rebecca Novick, Unit Manager, Child and Family Program 

Kathy Fuller, Program Officer, U.S. Department of Education, Office of 
Educational Research and Improvement 



Editing 

Eugenia Cooper Potter 

Proofreading 

Marjorie Wolfe 
Eugenia Cooper Potter 

Bibliographic Review 

Linda Fitch 

Production 

Paula Surmann 

Design 

Denise Crabtree 

68 

ERIC 



Published quarterly for N WREL member institutions 

Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory 
101 S.W. Main Street, Suite 500 
Portland, Oregon 97204 

To order additional copies of this booklet call 503-275-9720 
For questions about the By Request series call 503-275-0454 
Available on the World Wide Web at: www.nwrel.org/request 

This project has been funded at least in part with Federal funds from the 
U.S. Department of Education under contract number ED-01-CO-0013. The 
content of this publication does not necessarily reflect the views or policies 
of the U.S. Department of Education nor does mention of trade names, 
commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. 
Government. 

© 2002 Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory 






U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION 
OFFICE OF EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH AND IMPROVEMENT (OERI) 
EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES INFORMATION CENTER (ERIC) 

REPRODUCTION RELEASE (Specific Document) 



I. DOCUMENT IDENTIFICATION ^ 

Title: WORKING TOGETHER FOR SUCCESSFUL PARAEDUCATOR SERVICES: A CHIDE FOR 

PARAF.DUGATORS. TKAGHF.RS. AND PRINCIPALS (By RpqiiPst sp.ri p.O 

Author(s): .Tpnnlfpr Rail shark, Rrarkpn Rpp_ri. anH Karpn Sr-hm-Mi- 

Corporate Source (if appropriate): Northwest Regio nal Ednrational Laboratory 

Publication Date: S / 07 

I I . REPRODUCTION RELEASE 

In order to disseminate as widely as possible timely and significant materials of interest to the educational community, 
documents announced in the monthly abstract journal of the ERIC system. Resources in Education (RlE). are usually made 
available to users in microfiche and paper copy (or microfiche only) and sold through the ERIC Document Reproduction Ser- 
vice (EDRS). Credit is given to the source of each document, and, if reproduction release is granted, one of the following 
notices is affixed to the document. 

If permission is granted to reproduce the identified document, please CHECK ONE of the options and sign the release 
below. 



CHECK ▲ 
HERE W 



SIGN 

HERE 






XX 



Microfiche 
(4" x 6" film) 
and paper copy 

(8Va” X IV) 
reproduction 



“PERMISSION TO REPRODUCE THIS 


/ 


“PERMISSION TO REPRODUCE THIS 


MATERIAL HAS BEEN GRANTED BY 


/ 


MATERIAL IN MICROFICHE ONLY 




OR I I Microfiche 


HAS BEEN GRANTED BY 




1 1 (4" x 6/film) 

ronm/ii 


(PERSONAL NAME OR ORGANIZATION. 


Educa t ra t or v 


1 cyi uuuuuun 

only/ 

/ 


AS APPROPRIATE! 


TO THE EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES 


/ 


TO THE EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES 


INFORMATION CENTcrt (ERIC). 1 




INFORMATION CENTER (ERIC).** 



Documents will be processed as indicated provided reproduction quality permits. If permission to reproduce is granted, but neither box is checked, 
documents will be processed in both microfiche and paper copy. 



I hereby grant to the Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC) nonexclusive permission to reproduce this document as 
indicated above. Reproduction from the ERIC microfiche by persons other than ERIC employees and its system contractors requires 
permission from the copyright holder. Exception is made for non-profit reproduction of microfiche by libraries and other service 
agencies to satisfy ipfercnation needs of eaucatora^n response to discrete inquiries." 

Signature: _ .Printed Name: Dave Wilson 

Organization: Dlrprtnr^ Dp\/p 1 npmpnf an4^mnf^ fjnns • - 

— N o rthw e s t - Regional Educational Laboratory — Sssitax : 

Address: 1Q1 SW Main Street, Suita 500 Te i. no.: (501^) 771-9517 

! Portland, OR zip code. 97204-1297 Date- 5/31/02 



tit. DOCUMENT AVAILABILITY tNFORMATION (Non-ERlC Source) 

If permission to reproduce is not granted to ERlC.^or, if you wish ERIC to cite the availability of the document from 
another source, please provide the following information regarding the availability of the document. (ERIC will not an- 
nounce a document unless it is publicly available, and a dependable source can be specified. Contributors should also be 
aware that ERIC selection criteria are significantly more stringent for documents which cannot be made available through 
EDRS.) 



Publisher/Distributor: _ 
Address: 



Price Per Copy:. 



. Quantity Price: 






IV. REFERRAL TO COPYRIGHT/REPRODUCTION RIGHTS HOLDER 



If the right to grant reproduction release is held by someone other than the addressee, please provide the appropriate 
name and address: 




EFF-53 (Rev. 4 / 86 ) 





III. DOCUMENT AVAILABILITY INFORMATION (FROM NON-ERIC SOURCE): 

If permission to reproduce is not granted to ERIC, or, if you wish ERIC to cite the availability of the document from another source, please 
provide the following information regarding the availability of the document. (ERIC will not announce a document unless it is publicly 
available, and a dependable source can be specified. Contributors should also be aware that ERIC selection criteria are significantly more 
stringent for documents that cannot be made available through EDRS.) 



Publisher/Distributor: 



Address: 



Price: 



IV. REFERRAL OF ERIC TO COPYRIGHT/REPRODUCTION RIGHTS HOLDER: 

If the right to grant this reproduction release is held by someone other than the addressee, please provide the appropriate name and 
address: 




V. WHERE TO SEND THIS FORM: 



Send this form to the following ERIC Clearinghouse: 



However, if solicited by- the ERIC Facility, or if making an unsolicited contribution to ERIC, return this form (and the document being 
contributed) to: 




•088 (Rev. 2/2001) 



ERIC Processing and Reference Facility 
4483-A Forbes Boulevard 
Lanham, Maryland 20706 

Telephone: 301-552-4200 
Toll Free: 800-799-3742 
FAX: 301-552-4700 
e-mail: ericfac@ineted.gov 
WWW: http://ericfacility.org